A Well-Lit Path: A Blog from Westtown School

Marissa Colston

Marissa Colston has been working in education for 20 years. She is currently the Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at Westtown School and works with faculty, staff, students and families. Marissa has lead and created workshops and training diversity, equity and inclusion topics to help build better understanding and empathy among members of a community. She has presented at the National Association of Independent Schools annual People of Color Conference, Pennsylvania Association of Independent School Conference and the Friends Council on Education and Friends Association of Higher Education conference. She is also a trained Courage and Renewal Facilitator and leads Circles of Trust which help participants slow down to hear their inner voices and help reunite their souls with their vocations. She brings a passion for social justice to her work and seeks to ignite the spark for change in us all.

Recent Posts

Tools to Help Us Heal and Take Action

Posted by Marissa Colston on June 2, 2020


In response to the violence of systemic racism that we have witnessed these past weeks, I want to  offer ways in which all of us can engage in nonviolent action. As a woman of color, I have been re-traumatized by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. I have felt despair and am still working through my own pain and anger at how black and brown lives are not valued or protected. I know I am not alone in these feelings and I want to offer suggestions in ways to heal and take action.
The way in which this kind of violence affects people of color and white people are different and therefore require a different response Below are suggestions for people of color, for white people, and some that apply to all of us.

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Topics: Raising Resilient, Healthy Teens, Communication and Children

Talking About Race with Your Children

Posted by Marissa Colston on January 10, 2020

When I was younger, as a child of color in a household with parents who were also of color, talking about race was so common I don’t remember a time when we didn’t talk about it. I remember feeling proud and empowered about my racial identity. When I was faced with discrimination or hurtful stereotypes, even though it was painful, the foundation my parents helped create allowed me to talk about the experience knowing that I was more than a stereotype.

I knew that I could find support at home, but it was hard to talk with my white friends about these incidents. They rarely, if ever, had similar conversations at home. Their lack of ability to talk about race made it almost impossible to have a productive or restorative conversation.

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Topics: Inspiring the Best in Kids